The Hazards of a National Geographic Photographer...

Reality Check

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

It's a Glamorous Life

  • 12

    Severe Insect Problems

  • 21

    Threatened / Detained / Abducted

  • 2

    Held at Gunpoint

  • 1

    Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

  • 1

    Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

  • 2

    Fall Into Crevasse

  • 5

    Plane or Helicopter Crash

  • 2

    Groped

  • 33

    Arrest or House Arrest

  • 2

    Broken Nose

  • 13

    Run Checkpoint

  • 21

    Paraglider Crash

  • 9

    Hypothermia

  • 3

    Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

  • 7

    Dislocations

  • 3

    Chased by Wild Elephant

  • 5

    Robbed

  • 1

    Meningitis

  • 7

    Car or Bus Crash

  • 4

    Broken Bones

  • 3

    Imprisoned

  • 8

    Giardia

  • 1

    Diagnosed PTSD

  • 6

    Broken Ribs

  • 1

    Acid Dripping Caves

  • 1

    Chased by Crocodile

  • 4

    Burns

  • 16

    Various Parasites

  • 9

    Venomous Bites

  • 20

    Amoebic Dysentery

  • 8

    Assorted Animal Attacks

  • 1

    Strongyloide Invasion

  • 10

    Rope Burn

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

  • 1

    Blinded by Wasps

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

  • 2

    Teargassed

  • 1

    Stabbed

  • 5

    Malaria

  • 2

    Buried in Avalanche

  • 1

    Broken Tail Bone

  • 3

    Extreme Toxins

  • 1

    Held at Knifepoint

  • 1

    Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

  • 1

    Viper in Camera Bag

  • 30

    Wound Infection

  • 1

    Spitting Cobra Attacks

  • 2

    Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

  • 1

    Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

  • 1

    Flesh Eating Parasites

  • 1

    Penis Fish

  • 2

    Lost in Andes

  • 12

    Falls

  • 4

    Tear Gassed

  • 19

    Severe Dehydration

  • 1

    Lost on Arctic Ice

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

  • 2

    Stoned by Religious Group

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

  • 2

    Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

  • 1

    Hunted with Bows and Arrows

  • 1

    Dengue Fever

  • 6

    Random Assault

  • 1

    Punched in Face

  • 2

    Temporary Blindness

  • 9

    Groped

  • 29

    Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

  • 1

    Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

  • 1

    Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

  • 90

    Severe Diarrhea

  • 13

    Robbed

  • 1

    Lost at Sea

  • 1

    Scaffolding Collapse

  • 3

    Beaten